Strong decline in coal consumption in the EU.
After two years of recovery, global coal consumption declined again in 2019 (-2.6%). Public and private climate policies, combined with competition from cheaper gas-fired and renewable power generation have accelerated the closure of many coal-fired power plants and resulted in dramatic cuts in coal consumption in the EU (-18%, including significant drops in Germany, Poland and Spain) and in the USA (-12%, where nearly 14 GW of coal-fired power capacity was retired in 2019).
Coal consumption grew by 1% in China, which accounts for half of the global coal demand. The Chinese government aims at substituting coal use with gas and renewables but the coal-to-gas conversion policy relaxed in 2019.
In India, the second largest coal consumer worldwide, coal consumption declined by 3.4%, due to higher hydropower and renewable generation that cut coal needs in the power sector.
Coal consumption slowed down in Indonesia (+8.9%, i.e. half its 2018 growth), and decreased in South Korea and Japan, due to a lower demand from the power sector (reduced electricity consumption, nuclear competition, and air pollution constraints).
It also slowed down in large coal producing countries such as Russia (coal-to-gas switch in the power sector) and South Africa (reduced operations at coal-fired power plants due to technical issues) and even contracted in Australia and Turkey.
According to the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, global CO2 emissions from energy combustion increased by 0.9% to 38 GtCO2 in 2019, driven by China (+3.4%, accounting for 30% of global emissions) and India (+1.6%, 7% of global emissions). Meanwhile, Japan (3% of global emissions) reduced its energy-related CO2 emissions by 2.1%, the United States (13% of total emissions) by 2.6% and Russia (5% of total emissions) by 0.8%.
According to the European Commission, primary energy consumption declined by 0.7% in 2018 (-0.1% only for final energy consumption), which is insufficient to meet the 2020 targets. The highest annual reductions in primary energy consumption were posted in Belgium, Austria and Greece, whereas the largest increases were observed in Estonia, Latvia and Luxembourg. Between 2005 and 2018, primary energy consumption decreased in all Member States except Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia and Poland. Primary energy intensity fell in all Member States between 2005 and 2018; however, it grew in Denmark, Estonia and Luxemburg in recent years (between 2015 and 2018).
According to the Swiss government, final energy consumption in Switzerland slightly increased in 2019 (+0.3%) due to cooler temperatures, economic growth (+0.9%), demographic growth (+0.7%) and increasing fleet of motor vehicles (+0.8%). This rising trend was offset by continued energy efficiency and substitution effects.
According to preliminary figures from Citepa, France’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions declined by 0.9% in 2019, from 445 MtCO2eq in 2018 to 441 MtCO2eq in 2019. This is due to a decline in GHG emissions from the residential and tertiary sector (-2.7%, i.e. -2.2 MtCO2eq, with a 2.3% drop for households and a 3.2% decline for services), in the energy sector (-0.7%, including -1.5% for power generation), and in waste processing (-2.2%). In 2019, CO2 emissions dipped by 1%, from 331.5 Mt to 328.2 Mt (-3.3 Mt), while methane emissions contracted by 0.7% (-0.4 MtCO2eq).